As one of my professors once said, "Anyone who asks a question deserves the answer." That was in the context of answers that open a can of worms, bringing up a lot more troublesome, worrisome questions.
Well, in today's e-mail, after I saw an appeal to support FireDogLake's coverage of Bradley Manning's legal proceedings
I got to an e-mail from the White House. It started out with
Who are your heroes?
For more than 40 years, presidents have presented the Citizens Medal to Americans who have performed extraordinary acts of service for their country or their fellow citizens.
Now we're looking to honor a new group of heroes, and we need your help.
Take a moment to nominate Americans who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs and who have provided inspiration for others to serve.
The nomination form went on with this:
Criteria for NominationWell, I figured the folks in the White House deserved my input. The nomination form had some questions that I'll reprint in bold, and my answers are in italics.
The 2012 Citizens Medal will recognize "citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." Executive Order 11494 (Nov. 13, 1969). It is generally recognized as the second highest civilian award of our Government.
The 2012 Citizens Medal will recognize U.S. citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service outside of their regular jobs, including individuals:
Who have a demonstrated commitment to service in their own community or in communities farther from home. Someone who has engaged in activities that have had an impact in their local community, on a community or communities elsewhere in the United States or on fellow citizens living or stationed around the world.
Who have helped their country or their fellow citizens through one or more extraordinary acts. Individuals who have demonstrated notable skill and grace, selflessly placed themselves in harm's way, taken unusual risks or steps to protect others, made extraordinary efforts to further a national goal, or otherwise conducted themselves admirably when faced with unusually challenging circumstances.
Whose service relates to a long-term or persistent problem. Individuals who have made efforts to combat stubbornly persistent problems that impact entire communities, for example those who have taken innovative steps to address hunger, homelessness, the dropout crisis, lack of access to health care, and other issues that plague too many Americans.
Whose service has had a sustained impact on others' lives and provided inspiration for others to serve. The ideal nominee for a Citizens Medal is a person whose work has had a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of others.
Explain why your nominee should receive the Citizens Medal based on the criteria outlined here:
He did his duty, under US treaty obligations and the Nuremberg precedents, to report war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Describe the impact that your nominee's service has had on individuals and/or communities:
His actions very likely brought about the Arab Spring, and may have accelerated the end of a military occupation.